Young pharmacists desirous of a successful career need to make early decision on the area of practice they want to pursue, and must proceed immediately after graduation to concentrate on that area to garner the necessary experience to succeed.
This was the unanimous submission of distinguished pharmacists who spoke to young pharmacists at a programme tagged: “2016 NAIP’s Young Pharmacists’ Mentoring Day” organised recently by the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) and held at MAN Centre, Wemabod Estate, Ikeja, Lagos.
Amongst the speakers at the memorable event chaired by Pharm. Adetunji Doherty, MD/CEO Medheight Pharma Limited were Dr Arinola Joda from the faculty of pharmacy, University of Lagos; Pharm. Adenika Kehinde, executive director, technical operations, Drugfield Pharmaceuticals; Pharm. Olayinka Zubair of Pfizer; Pharm. (Prince) Gbenga Falabi, national chairman, NAIP; Pharm. Adebayo Temenu, executive secretary, NAIP and Pharm. Modupe Oyawole, assistant director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
In his opening remarks, Pharm. Gbenga Falabi said that NAIP cherishes the pharmacy virtue that always wants to nurture people, adding that the Association decided to organise the event to build young pharmacists and encourage them to gravitate towards industrial pharmacy practice.
On why NAIP was trying to improve capacity in industrial pharmacy, Falabi bemoaned the scarcity of production pharmacists in Nigeria and warned that if urgent steps were not taken, production pharmacists would be unavailable in Nigeria in a few years’ time.
He noted however that drug is the mainstay of the health profession, adding that Nigerian pharmacists must continue to nurture drug production skills.
“That is why NAIP is trying to improve capacity in this area. We need to generate interest in production and building of production pharmacists. Young pharmacists must know that opportunities abound in this area of practice,” Falabi said.
The NAIP boss also urged young pharmacists to imbibe the value of hard work, noting that many pharmacists abandon hard work once they graduate from pharmacy school.
Speaking in the same vein, Pharm. Adebayo Temenu urged the young pharmacists to use the opportunity of the programme and the information they had acquired to forge a successful career, noting that many pharmacists of his generation did not have the opportunity that is now available to the young pharmacists.
In his own contribution, Pharm. Adetunji Doherty asked the young pharmacists to delve into areas of Pharmacy that they had a flair for, based on their strength and weakness evaluation.
The event’s chairman told the young pharmacists that they could only achieve success if they discovered their strength as pharmacists early and leverage on it to succeed in their practice, adding that nobody can really help them to discover their purpose in life.
He urged the young pharmacists to embrace their uniqueness and refrain from trying to be like someone else. He urged them to be determined, persistent, and informed by learning more every day, and not get discouraged or frustrated due to setbacks.
He tasked the young pharmacists that to succeed. They must start to think about where they want to be in the next five to ten years, noting that where they will be is based on how they position temselves and practise in the period in-between.
Pharm. Ade Kehinde from Drugfield, who spoke with the young pharmacists on industrial pharmacy, urged them to choose their career path based on a vision of what they want to become, what they are interested in and their life’s goals.
He urged them to explore opportunities available to production pharmacists in pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, noting that if they work in the sector and acquire the necessary experience, it would not be difficult for them to set up their own pharmaceutical manufacturing plants later in life.
Pharm. Kehinde told them not to be daunted by the huge cost required to set up a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, noting that they could start small like Drugfield Pharmaceuticals which was started in a two-bedroom flat by Pharm. Ekundayo, producing only one drug, but is now a world class facility producing over 100 NAFDAC-registered products and employing about 600 Nigerians.
Other opportunities in pharmaceutical production for young pharmacist, he said, include serving as consultants on pharmaceutical production issues and travelling to many countries to interact with experts on pharmaceutical production.
Also speaking at the event, Dr Arinola Joda urged the young pharmacists not to place money ahead of everything in their decision to choose a career path.
She added that they should see internship as an opportunity to start exploring how to acquire needed experience to have a successful career, and not as opportunity to make money.
Joda said Pharmacy is a noble, silent but life-impacting profession, and young pharmacists must make up their minds early on the area of practice they want to focus on.
On the opportunities that abound in academic pharmacy, Joda said that the challenge of inadequate number of pharmacists is not limited to the pharmaceutical production sector, adding that opportunity now abounds in academic pharmacy for those who are serious and have a flair for the sector.
She urged those who are interested in the sector to proceed to obtain their M.Sc immediately after graduation and do all that is necessary to pursue their PhD and be willing to publish when they come into academic pharmacy to get promotion.
Pharm. Modupe Oyawole in her own submission urged young pharmacists desiring a career in hospital pharmacy to ensure they have a flair for counseling and relating with patients.
Hospital pharmacy, she said, is no longer about counting and dispensing drugs, adding that to succeed, the young pharmacists must ensure they were quite knowledgeable about pharmaceutical care to get the respect they deserve from other professionals in the hospital.
Pharm. Yinka Zubair, in his submission, advised the young pharmacists to pursue careers in their areas of interest and pursue competence which would only come if they acquire experience.
“The world today is the world that rewards competence; so you must pursue competence in your area of interest,” Zubair said.